307 Comments
Jan 31Liked by Robert Reich

Twitter didn't want to be bought out, but he forced it on them. Now he's afraid someone might be able to do that to him. How come I'm not crying?

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Musk wants to get as much as possible before his company collapses due to China’s cheaper version of his cars.

Just a matter of time until China eats Musks Lunch.

It’s the Money ; STUPID !!!

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All caps "stupid" is uncalled for, and yes, he wants the money, but he also wants control. By your logic he would have sold those shares before it went to court. American manufacturing is still preferred to Chinese and will not be eliminated from the global market. Get a grip.

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The Chinese cars are getting better, and for less money. They're working harder than us, and there are 4 times more of them. Some of their tech is already better than ours, and their advancement is accelerating. I'm sure there will be Teslas into the future but....

Shouldn't Elon get to do what he wants with his company?

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The shareholders are also owners, and the company consists more of employees than of management. Should those rich enough to finance a company always take everything but just enough for the employees to tread water because some people need any possible way to put food on the table? Government doesn't just exist to provide a military, it also exists to manage society. Should he be allowed to employ children, or program the cars to stop working 1 mile after the warranty runs out? I mean, it is his company, right?

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Feb 1·edited Feb 1

The tax system should be fair enough that Musk and Jeff Bezos cannot pay cash for Twitter and the Washington Post. This was bad for twitter, Washington Post and for us.

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I'm not pro Capitalism, and I don't care for Musk (for many reasons). I hope he eventually fails, but our system is rotten. There are some people that should not get any votes.

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You are on a roll, G G … People who want business owners to have a free rein don’t think broadly and with all their brain cells. Business serves to maintain an economy that serves to help societies exist and flourish. Societies are not here for the benefit of businesses … Yes, for sure, business owners are also part of society and we should be fair and structure our societies to reward entrepreneurial endeavor … But we don’t have kings and lords and serfs, and I don’t think anyone but a few oligarchs would like to go back to that kind of world.

There ain’t no “divine right of Kings,” and businesses need laws to keep them honest.

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They are working smarter than us .

China is the worlds largest user of robots in the world. The western countries have shifted their manufacturing to China because the people work cheaper.

China moves into a area of expertise learn our hard earned knowledge then imitate us cheaper and under price us to gain market share then we have a dependency on china to make drugs ; light bulbs, etc...

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I'm always saying that we need to make our own stuff, but then I can't even make my own light bulbs, etc. I can only do that if I live primatively. It's a dilemma.

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The accountants and the economists claim great saving but when your completely dependent upon a malignant foreign power in the basics of life it’s just Stupid... numbers are not people and don’t care about their impacts just short term profits... Long-term impacts are not their problem .

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Politics is the same game, no matter what country friendship club membership are more important than actual achievement...

China is not the monolith we think it is only by making the populous think the rest of the world wants to destroy them they remain united. Eventually the conglomerate of China will self dissolve as the holy Roman empire. The Roman Empire in the Russian Empire has dissipated.

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I have seen this here in Canada where the retiring CEO of NorTel started cashing in his preferred shares and the share price dropped to cents, leaving shareholders with a worthless company.

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Musk's shares are worth a lot because brokers recommend Tesla. It is overpriced.

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Also it’s a straight steal of James Carvell hand made sign posted by the copier or coffee pot of the WAR room Clinton first Presidential election.

Thank you for your comment it’s easy to lose all prospective when texting...

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I did recognize the reference to the classic economy quote, and I get it. Sometimes my zeal gets ahead of me.

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That’s life 👍

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perspective

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The caps place visual emphasis the Main point it’s all about the MONEY 💰

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Feb 1·edited Feb 1

Not being the rhetoric police, here. I'm aware how people respond to caps and avoid them by using the > & <. That way you could say ". . . all about the >money<!" Just a suggestion. Please don't take offence. (BTW: doing it that way makes the caps even >stronger<.)

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DZK, I like what you write, but the >greater than, less than< have always thrown me, kind of get in my way. I find ALL CAPS distracting too.

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Your the guy the FOX News guys are looking for. Without You they would be stuck talking about aliens, and black helicopters...🚁 not mention the real aliens living inside of the earth...

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It was just a suggestion. Do as you please. Besides, I'd be talking about the real aliens living inside their damn skulls!

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Tesla is an automotive company, they make cars. Yes they are technologically advanced. Nothing says Telsa must develop AI, indeed it should be kept outside of Tesla, ring fenced to promote success when properly staffed and funded and protect against failure. Developing this highly competitive technology, it has yet to become a mainstream product by stretching Telsa staff and resources away from their primary mission should be a big concern for directors, not being blackmailed into doing something they should be resisting in the first instance. A separate and successful Musk owned and controlled AI company should be Musk's ticket to his next big payday. Telsa could contribute by licensing relevant technology, helping them stay on top of China and growing their share price. This way Musk wins twice, growth in Telsa's value and the just deserts of another entrepreneurial success. Should the venture crash and burn like one of his rockets, Telsa shareholders are protected just as they are from the Twitter mess. Elon is as capable of failure as he is of success.

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Feb 1·edited Feb 1

Cheaper version of its cars ‽ Why would China bother too much on that other than for its own population? Know what ammonia is? Get a load of this: https://youtu.be/sJWDb3um5ME?si=aA7f3ZyWxi73HFCH

I'd consider buying stock in that!

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He claims that his demand isn’t about money but about control. “At 15% or lower, the for/against ratio to override me makes a takeover by dubious interests too easy.”

So your position is that he lied and it is entirely about the money?

Or you've got some hypothetical 3rd option?

C'mon Elon, contrive together some other rationale to explain it.

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Tax them with an increasing scale for the more they get. Make it worth while!

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We had that back in the day . . .

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It worked very well. Back in the day Americans improved their standard of living at the historically fastest rate at all economic levels. Since then only the top is improving its lot.

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Jaime Ramirez ; If one calls climate destruction, Buying government and destroying all hope for real Democracy "improving its lot."!

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Actually, they would improve faster, too, if a lot more people had money to spend on their products. Everyone would be better off. Their avarice prevents them from seeing that.

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That crazy dude needs that money to build a spaceship that can transport his cryogenically preserved carcass to another galaxy.

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And I'd suggest there's no time like the present!

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Such an event can’t come nearly soon enough for me at least.

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Heaven help the Universe if THAT happens! How about to a Super Black Hole instead (from which he can never return)! 🤔😉😏😜😅 Elon Musk may be a genius, but what he lacks in common sense, NORMAL morals, principles, standards, and REAL family values is just downright SCARY! Anyone know what his IQ is? [Answering my own question:] The charts probably don't go that high! Talk about "Homeland Security" --- our government should appoint a whole team of surveillance experts to watch him every single moment of every day!

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He isn’t a genius. He is an amoral power obsessed child. Somewhere he is missing connect the dots. What worries me is that it doesn’t take a genius to know that what he wants and what he gets is totally up to the country he is screwing. At the same time that we are so inured to the needs of greedy glutinous children we so easily forget teachers pay ….that should become very important. Duh

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Feb 1·edited Feb 2

I agree, 2,000%! Seems like our country is being screwed over by zealots, zombies (kidding!), corporatists, capitalists, militants, REAL CRIMINALS (as in, Trump, vs. the immigrants he likes to pretend are criminals!), half of Congress, Musk, who seems to be running amok six ways to Sunday -- WHAT has happened to us? Didn't people used to be law abiding?? I feel like we live in a banana republic now, where anything goes and nobody can do anything about it. I guess we can point our fingers at "The Destructionists" (Republican'ts; author: Dana Milbank) and massive deregulation. We are going down the tubes. Who to contact? Who to complain to? No one, it seems . . . for everyone is OWNED by someone else (or a bunch of someone elses!). -:(((

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Feb 1·edited Feb 1

A fair tax system , corporate regulation and money out of politics would go a long way in making civilization much better for us all. Excess money distorts our world.

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founding

Exactly the things that the billionaires and corporate interests have been attaching, at least since Reagan. They have and are using their bought and paid for majority on the Supreme Court to further dismantle the rules that would keep them in check (like those yiu mentioned) while also weakening our voting power via gerrymandering, misinformation, and weakening the voting rights act.

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Frankom - if a "fair tax system" or any reform of it is unlikely, do you have an alternative?

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I can think of no alternative.

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I wonder in what century any of THAT is going to happen! I despair for the world. I would love to be here to view the Earth when man is gone! Just think -- NO MEDIA to spoil the day!

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Klare - "Didn't people used to be law abiding??" From reading history, it looks like the only difference between now and say, the gilded age, is that media make it easier to detect the lawbreakers, partially because they flaunt it so. Of course the rich. of whom we're speaking now, have never had to follow the rules that govern the rest of us. So why shouldn't they flaunt their contempt for the rest of us? At the other end of the spectrum, we have drumpfers who think they've been given permission by their "leader" to behave like middle schoolers.

Also we live in a society that glorifies me my mine ad infinitum. We are teaching our children to mindlessly narcissistic hedonists, pursuing every new shiny thing. Get the cell phones out of childrens' hands, and we might reverse some of the pathology in a generation. ain't gonna happen. planet's toast.

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There was a period of time when there was a lot more accountability in our system, thanks especially to the Roosevelts, that got turned around during the Nixon & Reagan administrations & has gotten ever worse since. At one time we were among the least corrupt nations in the world. That certainly can't be said about us now.

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Jaime, I believe the oligarchs suffered a minor setback under Roosevelt, but they developed a loooong game, the fruits of which we're seeing now. I hate to have to give them credit for their strategy and execution. when will our looooong plan start? i wish it could be a short plan, but that would probably entail violence.

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Feb 1·edited Feb 1

Hello, Paul. I would put a "like" up there for you, but the/your outlook is so depressing. 😬 I shall do it anyway.

Well, I was raised Catholic (taught discipline), in a small town in Indiana (disciplined, hardworking, love), by an authoritarian father who didn't put up with much crap ( :-((( ). I was sheltered, and busy living my interests. Post--WW II: the inhabitants of USA were busy working and building lives. I guess I got indoctrinated and spoiled by the decent people in our lives. I still expect the same of others today. We hold on to the good and decent, no matter what. Backgrounds like that (though in hindsight, definitely not perfect) serve to help keep the lucky of us sane somewhat. Don't predict "toast" . . . keep on keeping on setting a fine example. I got, a couple weeks ago, a new tote bag from my local NPR affiliate station, which says BE GOOD TO EACH OTHER, the sign-off of the host of the noontime program. I ordered it because it is a fine reminder to ME, AND to all who see it when I am carrying it. We can ALL do lots of little things to boost and buoy each other up. As for the cell phones . . . Famed Fran Liebowitz of New York doesn't own a cell phone or a computer. She goes about New York for long walks, with the famous people she knows . . . Her favorite walking friend is Martin Scorsese. It is all in what we choose! Dream BIG, and maybe better times will come again!! TAKE ❤ HEART!

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Feb 1·edited Feb 1

Klare. I needed this post today. Thank you!

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Paul, absolutely correct in saying” get cell phones out of childrens’hands”!

What we can see, and Klare I know this seems depressing , is that to learn how to go forward and to eradicate the “same old,same old” we must understand our own , factual history. We are often a brilliant bunch, let’s focus on that goal and not on hiding under the rocks of bad news!

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He’s autistic. So is DT. Their brains work differently. Neither have been given education in mindful self awareness, how their behavior affects others. They don’t see it as screwing people at all. There’s going to be a lot more of this in the future- what was previously hidden from view is now celebrated. It’s a conundrum

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He doesn't seem that intelligent to me. It's more a matter of greed, timing & luck, & our terribly unbalanced, unequal, unfair capitalist system.

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Feb 1·edited Feb 1

Klare K : The way I understand it: Musk bought Tesla, along with Nicolai Teslas's ideas, knowledge and prototypes. The inventions were not his making. He also had a leg up from US : the taxpayers! to develop his business.

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My name is Klare.

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Klare K. ; sorry for the error ; my spell check seems AI like sometimes, with an agenda!

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Funny! Thank you!

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Good riddance!

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Thank you for this great column, and the information about the Sanders/Warren/Markey/van Hollen bill - maybe next Congress? Let's hope so!!

The notion that good executives need bloated pay packages that make Ukrainian corruption (real or imagined) look like nickels and dimes is just so far removed from reality that I can't understand how it is accepted. Good CEOs at that level are far more concerned about the exercise of power than money. They'd still be fantastically compensated at a small fraction of what they get now.

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Of all the wealth America produces half goes to just a few percent. No one works thousands of times harder than a typical blue collar worker. This financial hoarding is flatly cruel to the common people. Because we are human, that's why we care.

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It matters a great deal to employees, even if the differential wouldn't actually be enough to greatly change their pay. In the more egregious cases, it would change it substantially. But even without a paycheck boost, there is a morale boost that is very meaningful. The company I spent many years in (HP) used to respect that concept, and employees noticed.

It is also a truism of corporate life that you get what you measure. CEOs who gauge their worth by their paycheck spend their time enhancing that paycheck, without regard for what the real benefit to the company is. The idea of paying mainly through stock options distorts priorities in a major way; rank-and-file employees get their pay from the number in between the top and bottom lines, not the stock market. That should be a nice bonus; nothing more.

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Because every dollar that they get is a dollar that the company, the shareholders and the workers who, let's face it, actually do all the grunge work are not getting: their buying power falls so far back that they can never hope to get out of poverty. Do you think that is right?

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Musk is not alone in his sociopathic greed. Stock buybacks and increased CEO pay is not only loosing workers jobs and pay, but it is killing people. The case of Boeing is more evil than I realized and they are not alone, Please read this excellent post from Lee Leopold.

https://lesleopold.substack.com/p/did-stock-buybacks-knock-the-bolts?emci=9e651be3-47c0-ee11-b660-002248223197&emdi=47080b04-6bc0-ee11-b660-002248223197&ceid=10400871

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Stock buybacks used to be illegal in the US. Just another of so many sound policies that were blithely discarded under RONZO.

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Karl, unsure of RONZO? urban dictionary definition kind of matches. But yes over the past 40 years, oligarchs have systematically used their money to undermine, own law makers and judges there by getting more laws in their favor and reducing laws protecting the majority of our species and the planet. I hope we can see the truth and put the toothpaste back in the tube.

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Ronald Reagan + bedtime for Bonzo = RONZO!

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He'll always be the actor that co-starred with a chimp to me.

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Yes. And he was also a piece of filth.

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Thank you very different from urban dictionary and makes more sense.

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Does "sound policy" answer the question?

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🙄🙄

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Donald Hodgins

Donald’s Substack

37 mins ago

A day will come when Mr. Musk will be confronted by something money can't buy. Love and time.

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Maybe he'll be like Simon and Garfunkel's "Richard Cory".

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Gordon--They are one of the same.

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First record I ever bought! Every cut a gem….

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I think that was my second record.

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I bought it with a live, double album of Peter, Paul and Mary…interesting how political the music was back then

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Fantastic song! I wonder how many people here are familiar with that song. Probably a lot higher percentage than the general population. Yes, I suggest everybody who doesn't know it to look it up. (I would post the link if I knew how to on this device.) Apparently it came from a poem written before the S&G song (based on a Perry Mason episode I watched, which almost surely came prior).

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I don't know about the Perry Mason episode, but I have the song on the "Sounds of Silence" album from 1965. It says all songs except Angie were written by Paul Simon. I was fairly young then and I remember that song was kind of shocking.

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Obviously the music was written by Simon, & they were his words, too, but the story (I think it was a poem) must've been his inspiration for that fine song.

My family got that album back in the 1960s, too, & I think it's 1 of the best albums ever made. All their albums were high quality.

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I applaud the Delaware decision to curb Musk's "compensation." No human being is so valuable that they can be given for any reason 56 billion dollars. That is insane. I know we have laws about such excesses, but somehow those in charge can't seem to stop their drooling over rich guys and make them start acting like responsible adults, something Musk and his super rich pals have not seemed to be able to do. When a corporation is as large as Tesla or Facebook, no one person or little group should be able to have complete control no matter who started the business. Too many lives are impacted when that happens. We need some serious curbing of our richest guys and their terrible behavior. We can do better if we would just get the rich person stars out of our eyes.

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Jan 31·edited Feb 1

Musk is threatening to incorporate in Texas, and Abbot is saying "Come on down"

The civil war has really started., not just because of Musk, but it is additive. Abbot ignores the Supreme Court, as did Alabama, he has ordered he Texas National Guard to obstruct and ignore CBP, ten Southerner states have mobilized the national guard to support Abbot

And Yet there sits Biden like a stone wall., He could follow the precedent of a Republican president, Eisenhower and move a Division of Regular Army to the border and Federalize the National Guards.

Which is what Eisenhower did in 1957 in Little Rock. He Federalized the Arkansas National Guard after Gov Faubus deployed them to prevent 9 black kids from entering Little Rock High, then he sent in the 101st Airborne Division, to enforce Brown v Board of Education.

What ever happened to political courage?

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Lee Markland, or we could just sell Texas to Mexico, as I heard someone say recently. At this point, I am liking the idea more and more. The cruel fools are exhausting.

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Hoping Delaware prevails. Everything about Musk is obscene.

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Oh poor Lonny…must really suck to not be able to taste food due to muskrat’s boot being attached to your tongue! 🤣

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They want huge paychecks and bonuses but want to keep paying less taxes than their employees.

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Do you think that what is true is that they really do not want the huge paychecks and bonuses they are getting? Do you think it is true that they are paying a bigger percentage of their pay in taxes? C'mon, I don't think Jan is the liar here!

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Lonny you cannot shatter the delusions that people want to believe in.Popular delusions and the madness of crowds.

As Robert says Musk owns 13% of Tesla.SEC forms that anybody can read will give the exact number of shares,and the selling ( or buying ) of the stock by Musk.

The old saying is cut your nose off to spite your face.Most of them would cut their heads off to spite themselves.

87% of Tesla is obviously owned by whoever spent money to buy shares ,mainly pension funds.

Looking at the share price 5 year performance they have gone from $20 to $160 in round numbers.The rich get richer,everybody else gets richer,as long they are prepared to spend money and take a chance.

To quote a recently departed investor " people would rather die than think,they'd rather kill themselves than spend any money".

First world countries are first world countries because of people like Musk,they create trillions of $$$ for the masses,while the masses deny it. They'd have us living back in caves with a life expectancy of 20 years if it meant that somebody was stopped from having more than they have.Nothing will ever change in human nature

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You do realize there was a time when the rich paid much higher taxes than they do now (the top marginal rate was 90% from 1951 to 1963) and even with 3 recessions the middle class grew.

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don't go ruining the narrative he's got going.

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*chuckle* . . . and I left out the two years during WWII when the top marginal rate was 94%

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I'd like to see higher rates than we have to deal with the climate crisis. You know how this will likely go. The economic damage to the average household from climate change will continue to rise ever higher but politiicans will not be able to pass higher tax rates. Until perhaps we are nearing collapse when everything and the kitchen sink are thrown in to stop climate change. As Larry Summers said-"we don't do planning in the government". Actually the agencies do plenty of long term planning. Congress -not a lot.

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I love that we have a system where people like Musk can do things that make our lives better. But there is no reason why more of the wealth produced can't be shared. The argument that it will kill off the goose that laid the golden egg is poppycock. We are paying now for the massive disinvestment in the American public in the terrible metrics in health , to take one area. We need a balance. Also, there are people prepared to spend money and take a chance but they have no money.

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Dang, that's quite a ratio for Musk. It's all just insanity that a few human beings have that much more money/wealth than the other 8+ billion people. The obsession for more, to feel like we are more is a sickness, an insanity, we can no longer ignore or admire.

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And most of them have no inclination to share or help others. Imagine if all of them decided that they only needed 10 billion (each) to live on & gave the rest to where it would do the most good.

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Jedi Senshi, yes, imagine. ♡ throughout the world.

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And they would go down in history as great philanthropists. You'd think that their narcissistic egos would compel them to do that, but no, their miserly greed is a much stronger force somehow. It's like a sickness.

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This sickness is rewarded and admired by ordinary people who are owed so much more from them. We're just as insane to not only accept this behavior as right but also as an (unreasonable) goal to attain

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There was an era of noblesse oblige where benovolence was the expected standard of the wealthy. That moral standard doesn't hold for too many of them these days.That's understandable as these people have grown up in a highly competitive outer-directed culture that prizes conspicuous consumption and other displays of wealth as a means for validation of self. Maybe this means of validation is a substitutue for that which formerly existed.

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steve reed, yes, a validation of ego separateness replacing the validation of heart togetherness.

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Unfortunately, these displays of wealth are seen as virtuous in and of themselves

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Uhhhhhh . . . YOU THINK SO?!? I suggest musky be booted out and 100% of his disgusting pay be given to the ones that DO work.

musky is just like Bunkerboy: lazy, good-for-nothing bums that have NEVER worked a single day in their life.

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He needs to be stripped of his US citizenship and deported back to South Africa, where his retrograde and destructive views still hold currency.

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Yes, & the same to Murdoch, who has caused more harm to America than almost anyone else in history (the Koch brothers, Putin, Trump & now Musk give Murdoch a good run for that distinction).

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Putin and Murdoch. The most damaging of all of them. Special shout out to Leo Leonard with his damage to our judicial branch.

No matter how well a democratic system of governance is designed, there is no system that will hold up in the face of too many corrupt people. As the founders understood. It turns out our overly materialistic hyper commercialized individual-centered culture turns out people who don't have a civic urge to work for the common good. No surprise.

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And they're all people with lots of money flowing their way as well as lots of personal influence. Makes them that much harder to counteract.

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👏👏

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I'm not sure I like the idea of the Federal Government setting pay requirements for business corporations except for minimum wages. It needs to do a better job at that. It seems that resorting to the courts may be a solution especially with this precedent. I do think that the wealthy should be required to share society's burdens commensurate with what they make (I didn't say earn.) Then, tax the hell out of them. No one needs that kind of money!

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My preference is a much more progressive income tax system similar to what we had under Eisenhower &/or a wealth tax, which would by itself discourage such high, disparate salaries for corporate executives, but failing that then something like this bill would be a good solution. It's actually better & less prohibitive than another alternative I had been thinking, which is to limit the pay differential within a company between highest & lowest paid employees to 20:1.

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founding

Finally.

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"Behind every great fortune lies a great crime." – Honore de Balzac

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That’s a good one. Thank you 😊

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Yes, it is an abomination that one person can be seen as worth billions of times more than another.

I accept that there are differences in skills, expertise and competence and that it is reasonable for these to be rewarded so I don't suggest that every person ought to be paid precisely the same for whatever they do.

However, differences in payments ought to be rationally relative, not outrageously so as they are at the moment. It is significant that whilst the 'average' worker's pay is either static or effectively reducing because of inflation, even when they are given a raise, the pay of executives has risen enormously over the same period of time.

In other words, in today's world, people are not equally valued or even equitably valued - the gap between the haves and have-nots widens with every year and, contrary to what many would have us all believe, there is no 'trickle down', on the contrary there is a gush up.

Take care. Stay safe. ☮️

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Musk wants to get as much as possible before his company collapses due to China’s cheaper version of his cars.

Just a matter of time until China eats Musks Lunch.

It’s the Money ; STUPID !!!

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